|Senators forward Denis Hamel, left, crashes the net of Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas while Wayne Primeau tries to slow him down in action earlier this season.|
by Todd Anderson
The Ottawa Senators are playing for their first victory of the season against Northeast Division-rival Boston Bruins tonight. The Bruins have won the first three of eight meetings against the Senators this season.
"They've had their way with us," admits Senators forward Dany Heatley. "We haven't played very well against them, we haven't shown up the three times we've played them. That has to change."
The Senators will get a boost tonight as Bruins captain Zdeno Chara did not not make the trip to Ottawa because of a middle-body injury. Senators head coach Bryan Murray knows the Bruins will miss Chara, who served as the Senators' alternate captain last season and skated with the club from 2001 to 2006, but it won't change the Senators' game plan going into the match.
"We're not going to approach it any differently. I think their whole core has done a good job," Murray says. "Certainly, he's a good player, and we have great respect for Z. It's a hole for them, there's no question about that, but like every team you have to figure out how to play without your best players at some point during the year. We've tried to figure that out with our group, and I'm sure they'll be in their room this morning talking about the same thing."
Murray says it's important to get more traffic in front of the net tonight. Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas has played well in winning all three games against Ottawa this season.
"Their defence dominated our ability to get to the net and do things," Murray said after this morning's skate. "As a result Tim Thomas has looked very good against us because we did an awful lot of perimeter shooting.
"He's a real good angle goaltender. We've got to get to the net, get the puck deep and try to make the guy make difficult saves. He's five feet out of the net on angles all the time and does a good job as a result."